As we get ready to flip another page on our calendars, it is hard to believe it will be 12 months since life as we knew it stopped and we had to learn how to live during a pandemic.

March 16, 2020 was the day River’s Edge Hospital stood up its Incident Command team in response to the pandemic and what was happening locally, in our region, state and nationally. As of today, we are still actively holding Incident Command meetings as we respond to COVID-19 and all the rapid changes.

The past 12 months were full of quick and often hard decisions. One of the hardest decisions we had to make was to close the building to visitors and only have staff and patients in the building. We know how important it is in the healing process to have those support people with patients and it was also important to ensure we were minimizing risk of exposure to the virus.

On February 1, 2021, we opened our doors to visitors, allowing patients to have a support person with them during their care. It is still our goal to minimize the risk of exposure of COVID-19 to our patients, visitors and staff, so we have put guidelines in place for our visitors and patients.

For patients who are coming for same-day surgery, therapy appointments, urgent care of emergency care, one support person is welcome to be with the patient. For our hospital patients, the we ask that the support person is the same person for each day of the stay. All visitors to the hospital will be asked COVID-19 screening questions and have their temperatures taken. Masks must be worn at all times in all areas of the building, including patient rooms.

It is exciting to see visitors in the building again and we are hopeful that by following hospital guidelines along with department of health guidelines, we will continue to see more “normalcy” as we turn pages on the calendar.

Stephanie Holden is the chief experience officer at River’s Edge Hospital and Clinic in St. Peter.

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